|Quizzes and homework||35%|
Lectures: 3 sessions / week, 1 hour / session
Outline of mammalian functional neuroanatomy, aided by studies of comparative neuroanatomy and evolution, and of brain development. Topics include early steps to a central nervous system, basic patterns of brain and spinal cord connections, regional development and differentiation, regeneration, motor and sensory pathways and structures, systems underlying motivations, innate action patterns, formation of habits, and various cognitive functions. Lab techniques reviewed. Optional brain dissections.
You may be asking questions like the following: How does someone at your stage of learning neuroscience acquire a good knowledge of neuroanatomy? What can you do to keep up with your class, do well in the quizzes, and get a good grade? I have taught a class in brain structure and development or brain structure and evolution since 1997, and the following suggestions are based on lots of feedback from students who have done well and also from some who have had more difficulty.
Don't expect always to learn or remember something adequately the first time you read it or hear about it in class. Neuroanatomy is learned by repeated exposure and study, with many reviews and extensions of the knowledge already gained. Most of what I say at the beginning is a review for most of you but with a slightly different slant. What is coming next will be more novel, and after that it will become still more novel. You are used to the challenge of learning difficult things and solving problems, but most students find that learning neuroanatomy and brain evolution makes different demands on them.
Pay attention to word meanings. Don't let yourself get by with "I kind-a understand it…": "kind of" is often not close enough to "really". You have to push yourself all the time to understand well what I am talking about in class. If you do that, then as we go through important topics more than once, more and more will stay with you.
Remember that learning neuroanatomy is like learning both a new language and a map of a new world. So be patient with yourselves and your instructor, and your hard work will be rewarded.
The main book for the class is still being written. Drafts of many of the chapters will be available for students in the class:
*Schneider, G. E. Brain Structure and Its Origins [tentative title]. 2009. To be published.
There are six assignments for this class. Students are expected to complete the required readings in addition to these assignments.
Quizzes will normally be given on Wednesdays at the beginning of the class. They will be graded on a 12-point scale. Assignments will sometimes replace a quiz - they may be worth more than 12 points. A quiz will cover classes and readings assigned prior to the quiz day, usually just classes and readings not yet covered in a quiz.
|Quizzes and homework||35%|
Plagiarism—use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement—is a serious offense. It is the policy of the Literature Faculty that students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution, consult the style guides available at the Writing and Communication Center and the MIT Web site on Plagiarism.
|SES #||LECTURE TOPICS||KEY DATES|
|1-2||Introduction: brain orientation, primitive cellular activities|
|3-4||Steps to the CNS of chordates|
|5-6||Specializations in CNS evolution|
|7-8||Spinal cord development and anatomy|
|9||Autonomic nervous system. Differentiation of the brain vesicles: Intro. To hindbrain and segmentation||Assignment 1 (Quiz 2) due|
|10||Differentiation of the brain vesicles: Hindbrain and cranial nerves, specializations|
|11||Differentiation of the brain vesicles: Developmental distortions; evolution of midbrain and forebrain; midbrain organization||Assignment 2 (Quiz 3) due|
|12||Differentiation of the brain vesicles: Vertebrate forebrain evolution and organization|
|13-14||CNS differentiation: Axon growth|
|18||Midterm review||Assignment 3 (Quiz 5) due|
|20||Gustatory and olfactory systems|
|24-25||Auditory and related sensory||Assignment 4 (Quiz 6) due|
|26||Introduction to the forebrain|
|27-29||Hypothalamus and limbic system 1|
|30-32||Hypothalamus and limbic system 2|
|33-34||Corpus striatum||Assignment 5 (Quiz 8) due|
Final exam 1 week after Ses #39
|Assignment 6 (Quiz 9) due|